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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

NRK tried to avoid promoting Qatar

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) didn’t want to air promotional material from Qatar’s tourism agency during this summer’s European football championships, but found out it doesn’t have a choice. A request to drop the promos from “Visit Qatar” was quickly turned down.

“NRK has traditionally had editorial responsibility for which sponsors are exposed during sports programs,” said NRK’s sports editor Espen Olsen Langfeldt, “but in line with rights agreements with UEFA (the European football federation), we are obliged to air UEFA’s own partners’ promotions.”

Langfeldt said NRK officials nevertheless wanted to check whether they could drop promotions for Qatar, which has long been accused of human rights abuses, especially in connection with how foreign workers were treated while building stadiums and other facilities for Qatar’s hosting of the World Championships in 2022. Norwegian football fans were especially critical, and even called for a boycott. Some of NRK’s own staff were arrested while working in Qatar.

NRK’s request to avoiding promoting Qatar was predictably rejected by UEFA, which claimed the promos were fully legal under Norwegian law and regulations. The European Championships run from June 14-July 14, with NRK sharing broadcasting rights with Norway’s TV2. Norway’s own national football team failed to qualify for championship action, despite having some of the world’s best football players. staff





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